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First Winter

Bridgetown, Barbados
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33 posts
28 reviews
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First Winter

I am from the Caribbean where is always sunny and warm but I have never travelled during the dead of winter to see snow. Are there any suggestions for winter destinations? My boyfriend suggested we go to Aspen or Alaska but I am wondering if these might be a bit extreme for a "first timer"

Vancouver, Canada
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1. Re: First Winter

Well, there is certainly a range of winter weather and conditions, so it depends on how much "winter" you can handle.

Generally speaking, as you move north, you will encounter more cold. As you move up in elevation, you will encounter more cold. As you move further away from the ocean, you will encounter more cold.

Canada has a reputation for being a land of winter, but the Pacific Coast where I am is very mild by comparison to further east. I like the fact that the snow is up in the mountains where it belongs (mostly) If I want snow and snow sports, I only need to drive for an hour or two and I'm there! It can be very grey and drizzly down here, but its also a bit milder and you don't have the transportation issues that comes with snow and ice on the roads.

So, maybe Vancouver/Whistler would suit you?

If you want a more traditional, old world feel, a friend of mine spent last Christmas in Finland and Estonia and I have to say, her photos made me want to pick up and do the same. Talin, Estonia in particular just looked fantastic.

Bridgetown, Barbados
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33 posts
28 reviews
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2. Re: First Winter

Thank you! I have been looking up Whistler and tubing looks like fun! I have been zip-lining in Vancouver but it was August and there was no real snow.

alvinut
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266 posts
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3. Re: First Winter

Never been to Alaska, but that might be a bit extreme for a first time winter experience. And don't forget about the short days up there. The closer you get to the arctic in winter, the less daylight hours you get.

Aspen is arguably the most famous ski town in the Rockies. World class skiing, dining and nightlife. And expensive. Telluride, vail, breckenridge, steamboat, and winter park in Colorado, as well as park city in Utah are all worth considering too if you want a ski town with lots of other offslope winter activities to choose from as well. One of my favorites is Jackson hole in Wyoming. Gorgeous scenery, great skiing, cool town, and an easy day trip to Yellowstone park where you can snowmobile through a winter wonderland.

And if you want to go further north, you could also consider banff as an alternative to whistler in Canada.

Chicago's North...
Destination Expert
for Illinois, Chicago
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7,100 posts
282 reviews
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4. Re: First Winter

my vote is for yellowstone.

alaska in winter will likely be too extreme because of several factors---LONG travel time to get there from the island, cold temps, and very little daylight....

while i don't usually recommend this route, i'd say this plan would work for your type of trip, especially if you don't plan to rent a car and you have the budget to do it:

stay in jackson, WY... plenty of winter doings there... then, do a snowmobile tour of yellowstone.... don't worry, you'll be fine!! just do it.. and, i recommend you each ride your own snowmobile.... yes it costs more, but you'll (that is YOU, because you'll likely be the one riding on the back of a 2-person machine) have a much more enjoyable experience.... you could then go back home to the islands and tell your friends... they'll be amazed because you'll prolly be the only ones on the island who actually did a trip like this! there are several outfitters running tours out of jackson... the others run out of west yellowstone, but that requires more travel time to get there...

happy trails and think snow!!

Perth and Kinross...
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5. Re: First Winter

Another vote for Whistler.

Massive area of terrain for all levels, excellent facilities, superb ski school, plenty of alternative activities, pedestrianised village, great people................

Easy to see why we go back every year.

Washington
Destination Expert
for Seattle, Family Travel
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6,141 posts
18 reviews
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6. Re: First Winter

Do you want to just "see" snow or are you looking to ski/board and enjoy winter sports?

There are many, many areas that are beautiful in the winter. It depends on your budget, how far you would like to fly, what specifically you'd like to do, if you/your boyfriend are comfortable driving in winter conditions...etc. Tell us a little more.

Bridgetown, Barbados
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33 posts
28 reviews
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7. Re: First Winter

I want to ski or snowboard, toboggan or tube and my bf wants to zip line, bungee jump and we both want to do a snowmobile tour. He lived in Canada so is more acclimatized to winter. I have never really been out in snow. Just for short stays during winter but never in snow.

Our budget is about $4000usd.

I don't think that either of us will be comfortable to drive in snow.

We are both late 20s so would like areas with younger people.

Edited: 13 October 2012, 16:12
Bridgetown, Barbados
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33 posts
28 reviews
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8. Re: First Winter

And we would like to travel in the last week or 2 weeks in feb 2013

Washington
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for Seattle, Family Travel
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9. Re: First Winter

So, a couple things. I don't think either is that "extreme". It just depends what you would like to do, how far you would like to travel, and what your budget is. As lovely as Whistler is, for you, coming from Barbados, other than Alaska, it is about as far as you can get in North America. You would need to decide if the distance and travel time fits your needs. Whistler is 1st class destination with plenty of activity for both the skier/boarder and the non-skier, but there are many others too.

I would start looking at airfares and distances. Starting with Colorado, I consider flying to Denver, then shuttling to one of the resorts. My favorites, for resorts with good walking towns, plus everything winter to do, would be Aspen or Breckenridge. Aspen is 4hours driving from Denver (you can also fly directly into Aspen from several cities for more $). Breckenridge is 2 hours from the airport. Or consider Steamboat which has direct flights from Atlanta, Houston or Newark.

Look also at Salt Lake City, and consider Park City Resort. Park City is a terrific ski town, just 30 minutes from the Salt Lake Airport with several transportation options.

Regarding your dates. Know that in the US the "Presidents Day" holiday for 2013 is Monday, February 18. Generally the weeks around Valentines Day through that holiday are one of busiest ski weeks of the year because some there are some school holidays. If you have flexibility with your travel, I would avoid the week of February 11 through the following week February 23. You will find prices and availability for hotels and condos much, much cheaper, for example, the first or the last week in February.

Bridgetown, Barbados
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33 posts
28 reviews
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10. Re: First Winter

Thank you for your help guys, great info esp about president's day.

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